A crowler is a 32oz can you may purchase to take beer to-go. In taprooms and craft beer bars that offer crowlers, you can typically have the can filled with the beer or beverage of your choice and sealed on-demand.
Once sealed, you can take the crowler home, store it in your fridge, and open it whenever you’re ready. Crowlers open just like a beer or soda can with a tab on the top so you don’t have to have any additional tools.
But where did these magical devices come from and who created them?
History of the Beer Crowler
The crowler, or “can growler,” was created by Oskar Blues, known for having pioneered the canned craft beer movement with Dale’s Pale Ale back in 2002.
Stemming from their early foray into the canning game, when it came time to upsize the volume they could serve to customers on the go and offer an on-the-fly option, Oskar Blues reached out to Ball Corporation to find a solution.
Ball invented the first system that allowed for a 32oz can to be sealed behind the bar on-demand, just like a growler, in 2013.
After its early success, Oskar Blues made crowler machines available for purchase by other breweries, brewpubs, and beer bars, and there are now several manufacturers like Dixie Canner Co. and Oktober and machine types in the market.
Advantages of Crowlers over Growlers
When compared to a traditional glass growler, the crowler has several clear advantages, including:
- The seal is airtight every time so there are no concerns with cap leakage or permeating oxygen
- No light penetrates the can like it may with a growler and risks altering the beer’s flavor
- There’s no need to carry growlers with you or in your car
- There’s no glass to worry about breaking when consumed
- There’s no need to save or keep the container once consumed – and it can be recycled
Crowlers keep your beer fresher for a longer period of time, which appeals to both breweries and craft beer customers.
By contrast, some say beer packaged in a growler starts to lose its carbonation and freshness after just three days. On Rotation typically advises customers to consume growlers within two weeks.
Crowlers are known for ensuring freshness for up to a month, but, anecdotally, we know customers who have kept crowlers refrigerated for up to one year with no degradation of flavor or carbonation.
We do not normally have the patience to wait that long, but, if you do, it’s commonly supported that crowlers increase the shelf life of the beer you take home.
As single-use containers, crowlers are also appealing as they are clean and sanitized before use, unlike growlers which may not be properly maintained.
At On Rotation, we do clean and sanitize each growler brought to us before filling, but it’s never going to be as clean as a brand new, never-before-used can.
Crowlers can also go many places that growlers cannot, including beaches and other venues where glass is a big no-no. And the can may easily be recycled after consumption so you don’t have to hang onto it on a camping trip or other excursion.
With these advantages, we’ve seen the majority of our customers shift from growlers to ordering crowlers since we added a crowler machine to our taproom at On Rotation.
How to Buy a Crowler
If you are ready to take the plunge into crowlers, getting one is simple.
Do your research in advance to find a craft beer bar, crowler/growler filling station, or another venue that offers them.
Some venues or breweries will pre-fill them and have them available in a cooler for your purchase. Others will offer you the option of ordering at the bar and watching the crowler get sealed right before your very eyes.
Depending on the options offered at the bar or brewery of your choice, place your order and specify that you want it in a crowler, and you’ll soon be the proud owner of 32oz (or more if you buy multiple) of your beer of choice.
Crowlers at On Rotation
At On Rotation, we want any beer you take home to be as fresh and delightful as possible so we offer crowlers on demand.
You can order in advance by giving us a call or ordering online, or you can swing by the taproom and come up to the bar to select the crowler of your dreams.
With rare exceptions, we offer crowler and growler fills of anything on our tap list, and you may sample a beer if you’d like to get a taste before committing to 32oz of it.
If you have any other questions about crowlers or growlers, we’re here to help. Reach out to us here at On Rotation, and we’d be happy to make sure you get the beer, hard seltzer, or cider you’d like, on your terms and in whatever packaging format you’d prefer.